[Ip-health] Conferences and community participants- Concern.

Giten Khwairakpam giten.khwairakpam at treatasia.org
Fri Apr 15 09:02:47 PDT 2016

Dear colleagues and friends, I write this mail with a concern and a request.

Conferences are held and people from different fields and areas, including doctors, researchers, industry and community are invited. Some goes to attend, network and learn while some goes to actually showcase their good work.

Most of these conferences happen in developed countries. We are seeing a very concerning trend where embassies continuously rejects visas of community participants. These are people  who are not merely attending but either on invitation or by scholarship for presentations to be made in these conferences. Most of the rejection are based on grounds of unclear subsistence for 3 or 4 days in the developed country or economic condition/situation which makes the visa officer feel that the person is not on a temporary visit. Of course, these are sovereign rights and everyone can decide. This has caused hardships to people and to a large extent mental agony and demotivation to the great work being carried out in the field.

As some conferences, including the IAC in Durban comes closer, may I please request people who are associated with conference organizers to please take extra 5 minutes for community participants in making the invitation letter or support letters. The same template that’s for every other participant does not work for the economically unsound community participants. Please clearly indicate in details, all the support one will be provided with including clear dates and amounts. If needed, outsourced PCOs should be instructed to make stronger support letters and extra documentation for community participants so as to avoid visas getting turned down when genuine people travels to share their work. Please send the invitation at least 2 months in advance so that people can apply well in time. Not all people stay in capital cities where embassies or consulates are located- they have to travel to other cities. Sometimes one has to go to another country to apply and provide biometrics.

I don’t mean to point at anyone or any organization. This is becoming a genuine concern for me and I wanted to highlight this with a hope that some of you associated with professional societies or groups will share the message and take a note that all is not well and people are getting demotivated.


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